Moments before the first half came to an end at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were in a great position to advance to the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Lisbon on May 24.
They led Atletico Madrid 1-0 for the match and on aggregate. Considering that Chelsea held Atletico to a 0-0 draw in Spain by parking a bus in front of goal, the Blues had to like their chances of holding on to their advantage.
It didn't happen, and a rare lapse from Jose Mourinho's back line was the difference en route to a 3-1 win for Atletico.
Chelsea gained the lead with a goal from former Atletico striker Fernando Torres in the 36th minute. The goal put Chelsea in a position to defend for the rest of the match and advance at the conclusion.
Then, Chelsea let Adrian get free. Francisco Juanfran one-touched a Tiago pass to Adrian, and the forward netted the equalizer in the 44th minute. It was a huge goal.
Mourinho spoke about the goal after the match. Sky Sports (via the BBC) caught his comments:
One minute in the second half decided everything. A minute where the Atletico goalkeeper makes an impossible save to a John Terry header then the penalty that kills the game.
Semi-finals and important matches are made of details and this was a very important detail. Congratulations to them because they are a very good side and what they are doing in Spanish league is fantastic.
The lone strike was enough to give Atletico the edge on away goals. That meant, Chelsea could no longer be content to defend. They had to find a way to score.
Instead of creating opportunities for themselves, Chelsea's efforts to net a goal instead allowed the floodgates to open for Atletico.
Soccerlens saw Chelsea's defense falter:
Diego Costa converted a penalty in the 60th minute, and Arda Turan put the icing on the cake with a goal in the 72nd minute.
In all, Atletico wound up with more shots on goal at 8-5 and slightly more possession at 52 percent.
Atletico deserves all the credit for this victory. They played brilliantly, and their trip to the final is well-deserved. Plus, all of this sets up for an all-Madrid final for the Champions League.
Real Madrid advanced with ease by trouncing Bayern Munich 4-0 in Allianz Arena in Germany on Tuesday. That gave them a 5-0 win on aggregate and a ton of momentum as they look for their 10th European crown.
Atletico currently lead the La Liga table by four over Barcelona and six over Real Madrid. Los Blancos have a game in hand. That will all be settled by the time these two meet for the final, which will leave the rivals to have a bragging-rights match on this epic stage.
Atletico have plenty of reasons to be confident for this match, and they were brilliant on Wednesday. Still, Real Madrid should be viewed as the favorites after their forceful showing in Germany on Tuesday.
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